A rainy, dreary day doesn’t mute the high energy of the latest English import to hit U.S. shores. After all, that’s normal weather in London, where Rita Ora, the platinum-haired singer who’s had three U.K. number-one singles in “R.I.P,” “How We Do (Party) and “Hot Right Now,” harks from, by way of Kosovo. She may be on fire across the pond, but was virtually unknown in the U.S. until she hooked up with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Her debut, Ora, released in the U.K. in late August, debuted on top and is already gold.
Though she’s still new to the game, Ora knows the first rule of success: Align yourself with the best. To that end, she’s toured with Coldplay and hit with the Drake-penned “R.I.P,” which also features British rap star Tinie Tempah. In the Rihanna-meets-Katy-Perry with a touch of Neneh Cherry mashup that is Ora’s vibe, there’s a fresh sensibility, as well as a lot of edgy fashion—”I like to surprise people,” she says—placing her squarely amongst current U.K. It-girls like Estelle and Jessie J. But it’s onstage that Ora, who’s done several a capella performances in her U.S. press run, including MTV’s famed Unplugged series, truly shines.
“It was nice to see so many people knowing my songs,” Ora says of her Philadelphia debut on the Made in America concert stage last month. “I just like to have a lot of fun on stage. I think people are surprised when I sing live. With my bigger songs, they like to see what I’m wearing and the videos, but when I get a chance to sing live and sing it more stripped back, I think that gives a different level to it. People can see a different angle to me.” (Tonya Pendleton)
Sun, Oct. 28, 8 pm. $25-$27. With Iggy Azalea + Havana Brown. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 215.922.6888. thetroc.com